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Montana House candidate John Lewis offers agriculture plan

Montana House candidate John Lewis offers agriculture plan

HELENA — Democratic House candidate John Lewis on Thursday released a five-part farm and ranch platform that he said reaffirms his commitment to the one in five Montana jobs that depend on agriculture.

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Daines votes to sue Obama; GOP says president exceeded authority

Daines votes to sue Obama; GOP says president exceeded authority

HELENA – Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., voted with the House Republican majority Wednesday to sue President Barack Obama for what they say was exceeding his constitutional authority.

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Names of 3 attorneys seeking work-comp judge job forwarded to Bullock

HELENA – The Judicial Nomination Commission on Tuesday unanimously voted to submit the names of three attorneys to Gov. Steve Bullock for consideration as the next state workers’ compensation judge.

July 30, 2014 6:45 amLoading…
Who’s behind Draft Schweitzer attempt?

Who’s behind Draft Schweitzer attempt?

HELENA — One man behind the effort to draft former Gov. Brian Schweitzer for president is a 24-year-old Connecticut educator who was impressed with the Montanan’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

July 28, 2014 9:21 pm Related Loading…

Zachery Lahn is new director of conservative advocacy group

HELENA — Zachary Lahn is the new state director of the Montana chapter of Americans for Prosperity,

July 28, 2014 4:42 pmLoading…

Home-health employers seek exemption to Obamacare regulations

HELENA — Next year, all large employers will be required to offer health insurance to their workers — and for health care firms that rely on government funding to provide services to the poor, that mandate poses a special problem.

July 28, 2014 6:20 amLoading…

Initiatives failed to make 2014 ballot for several reasons

HELENA — Direct democracy, a proud tradition in Montana for more than a century, fell flat on its face this year.

July 26, 2014 5:47 pm Related Loading…

State pensions register 17% return for year

HELENA — State investments showed a return of 17.17 percent on all pension investments in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

July 25, 2014 9:58 pmLoading…

Draft Schweitzer committee forms

HELENA — A Connecticut man has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to form a committee called “Draft Brian Schweitzer,” but he did not specify for which federal office.

July 25, 2014 9:56 pmLoading…
Bohlinger, Adams condemn Walsh’s plagiarism

Bohlinger, Adams condemn Walsh’s plagiarism

HELENA — Sen. John Walsh’s two opponents in the Democratic primary in June were critical of Walsh’s plagiarism of a paper written at the U.S. Army War College.

July 25, 2014 9:49 pmLoading…
Court upholds 12-day 'sell-by' rule for milk

Court upholds 12-day 'sell-by' rule for milk

HELENA — The Montana Supreme Court on Friday unanimously upheld a lower-court decision supporting the state Board of Livestock’s decision to keep its rule providing for a “sell-by” date for milk of 12 days after pasteurization.

July 25, 2014 2:35 pmLoading…
Walsh paper has 79% ‘similarity index,’ online review shows

Walsh paper has 79% ‘similarity index,’ online review shows

HELENA — The online plagiarism detection service iThenticate determined that U.S. Sen. John Walsh’s final paper at the U.S. Army War College had a similarity index of 79 percent.

July 23, 2014 8:41 pmLoading…
Walsh says he was being treated for PTSD when he plagiarized paper

Walsh says he was being treated for PTSD when he plagiarized paper

HELENA — The New York Times reported Wednesday that Montana’s newest senator, Democrat John Walsh, plagiarized large portions of his final paper submitted for his 2007 master’s degree at the U.S. Army War College.

July 23, 2014 2:20 pm Video Related Loading…

VanDyke starts out behind in court fundraising

HELENA — Lawrence VanDyke is back on the ballot for Supreme Court justice, but he starts out at a big disadvantage in campaign fundraising in his race against Justice Mike Wheat.

July 23, 2014 9:35 amLoading…
VanDyke back on ballot for Montana Supreme Court

VanDyke back on ballot for Montana Supreme Court

HELENA—In a 4-3 decision on Tuesday, the Montana Supreme Court overturned a lower-court ruling and put Lawrence VanDyke back on the November ballot as a candidate for Supreme Court justice.

July 22, 2014 2:32 pmLoading…
For 1st time since 1972, no citizen initiatives qualify for 2014 ballot

For 1st time since 1972, no citizen initiatives qualify for 2014 ballot

HELENA — Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said Monday that no citizen initiatives obtained enough voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

July 21, 2014 12:48 pmLoading…
'Woodwork effect' of Obamacare adds 6,000 people to Medicaid in Montana

'Woodwork effect' of Obamacare adds 6,000 people to Medicaid in Montana

HELENA — Montana is one of two dozen states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid as part of the federal health care overhaul — but it’s still added a higher-than-expected number of folks to this program that pays medical bills for the poor.

July 20, 2014 12:15 amLoading…
Whatever happened to CHIP expansion? It succeeded – but is really the Medicaid expansion

Whatever happened to CHIP expansion? It succeeded – but is really the Medicaid expansion

HELENA — While the debate rages over whether Montana should expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults, a dramatic expansion of Medicaid and a related government health plan has already happened — to cover children.

July 20, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…
NWE CEO says dam purchase a good deal: We are not 'crooks’

NWE CEO says dam purchase a good deal: We are not 'crooks’

HELENA — NorthWestern Energy CEO Bob Rowe told state regulators Thursday that the company’s $870 million purchase of a dozen hydroelectric dams is a solid plan to rebuild the utility and benefit customers, and that suggestions that the company will unduly profit are wrong.

July 18, 2014 9:20 amLoading…
State asks court to uphold Montana’s ban on same-sex marriages

State asks court to uphold Montana’s ban on same-sex marriages

HELENA — The state of Montana asked a federal judge on Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by four gay and lesbian couples challenging Montana’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

July 17, 2014 6:30 pm Photos

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Director says real estate sales prices should be public

Director says real estate sales prices should be public

HELENA — The state Revenue Department will ask the 2015 Legislature to change the law to allow the sales prices of real estate to be publicly disclosed, Director Mike

July 16, 2014 10:48 pmLoading…

Mikkelsen now running Zinke campaign

HELENA — Republican House candidate Ryan Zinke has changed campaign managers after winning the primary last month.

July 16, 2014 7:00 pmLoading…
U.S. House candidate Zinke's assets exceed those of Lewis

U.S. House candidate Zinke's assets exceed those of Lewis

HELENA — House Republican candidate Ryan Zinke has amassed more in personal wealth than his Democratic opponent, John Lewis, their financial disclosure statements filed with the House show.

July 16, 2014 6:54 pm Photos

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Financial disclosure: Daines worth millions; Walsh, a lot less

Financial disclosure: Daines worth millions; Walsh, a lot less

HELENA — U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines, by far, is the wealthiest member of Montana’s congressional delegation — and, according to financial-disclosure reports, has personal wealth more than 125 times that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Walsh.

July 16, 2014 6:30 pm Related Loading…
Most of Sen. Tester's assets tied up in Big Sandy farm

Most of Sen. Tester's assets tied up in Big Sandy farm

HELENA — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the only working farmer in the U.S. Senate, reported assets last year valued at $1.1 million to $2.2 million, most of which are his family’s organic grain farm west of Big Sandy.

July 16, 2014 5:42 pmLoading…
House candidate Zinke's debt now up to $83,000

House candidate Zinke's debt now up to $83,000

HELENA — House candidate Ryan Zinke’s total campaign debt is now at about $83,300 under an amended Federal Election Commission report, up $26,000 from the $57,300 debt reported earlier this week.

July 16, 2014 6:51 amLoading…
Auditor’s office: Net increase of 30,000 Montanans with health insurance

Auditor’s office: Net increase of 30,000 Montanans with health insurance

HELENA — Since the launch of the federal government’s online health insurance “marketplace” in Montana last October, a net 30,000 Montanans have gained new health coverage, the state auditor’s office said Tuesday. 

July 15, 2014 7:21 pmLoading…
Consumer witness: NW dam purchase a bad deal for consumers, unless altered

Consumer witness: NW dam purchase a bad deal for consumers, unless altered

HELENA — The lead witness for a Montana consumer-advocate office said Tuesday that if regulators approve NorthWestern Energy’s $900 million purchase of a dozen hydroelectric dams without changes, it will mean guaranteed profits for the company and much higher costs for ratepayers.

July 15, 2014 1:45 pm Photos

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Zinke has raised most in House race; Lewis has most cash in bank

Zinke has raised most in House race; Lewis has most cash in bank

HELENA — Republican candidate Ryan Zinke has raised the most money so far in the race for the U.S. House, but his Democratic opponent, John Lewis, has the most cash left in the bank, new Federal Election Commission reports released Monday show.

July 15, 2014 6:45 am Photos

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Remington confirms it will replace millions of triggers

Remington confirms it will replace millions of triggers

HELENA — The Remington Arms Co. has confirmed it will offer to replace trigger mechanisms on millions of Model 700 bolt-action hunting rifles, as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement reported earlier this week.

July 11, 2014 9:22 pmLoading…

Legislative panel advances report on federal-land management

HELENA — A legislative panel Thursday voted to advance a report on how to encourage more state involvement in management of federal lands in Montana — but not before changing it to say transferring those lands to the state should be considered a “last resort.”

July 10, 2014 7:06 pmLoading…
Blue Cross execs actually got a lot more pay in 2013 than earlier reported

Blue Cross execs actually got a lot more pay in 2013 than earlier reported

HELENA — Top executives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana did not take a pay cut last year, as reported erroneously by the Gazette State Bureau in May — but, rather, received quite a bit more in total compensation.

July 09, 2014 6:30 pmLoading…

Legislative fed-land study sparks accusations of 'hidden agenda' of transferring lands to state

HELENA — A study of federal land management problems in Montana roiled a legislative panel Wednesday, as some members said the report has a “hidden agenda” of transferring ownership of federal lands to the state.

July 09, 2014 4:53 pmLoading…
Zabawa: Anti-marijuana initiative likely didn't get enough signatures

Zabawa: Anti-marijuana initiative likely didn't get enough signatures

HELENA — The sponsor of an initiative to make all marijuana illegal in Montana conceded Tuesday that its backers probably didn’t get enough signatures to qualify it for the November ballot.

July 08, 2014 7:18 pm
Lewis touts plan to cut pay for Congress, reduce pensions

Lewis touts plan to cut pay for Congress, reduce pensions

HELENA — Democratic U.S. House candidate John Lewis released a plan Tuesday to clean up Congress that calls for cutting members’ $174,000-a-year pay by 10 percent and eliminating their “gold-plated” pensions.

July 08, 2014 1:01 pm Video Photos

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NorthWestern, Consumer Counsel present contrasting views of $900M dam purchase

NorthWestern, Consumer Counsel present contrasting views of $900M dam purchase

HELENA – Montana’s tarnished utility-deregulation law wove its way through the fabric of Tuesday’s hearing on NorthWestern Energy’s proposal to buy a dozen hydroelectric dams, with a company lawyer calling the plan a chance to “put the failed experiment of utility deregulation behind us.”

July 08, 2014 11:20 am Photos

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Remington to settle class-action lawsuits over rifle’s trigger mechanism; recall in the works?

Remington to settle class-action lawsuits over rifle’s trigger mechanism; recall in the works?

HELENA — The Remington Arms Co. has reached a nationwide settlement of claims that most of its Model 700 bolt-action hunting rifles have a defective trigger mechanism — a settlement likely to include the recall of millions of the popular firearm.

July 07, 2014 5:15 pm Photos

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Barber in his office with documents

Barber in his office with documents

Richard Barber, shown in 2013 in his office filled with documents about Remington Arms Co. Barber said a federal court agreement with the gun maker and plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit accomplishes what he wanted to accomplish. “I guess it’s safe to say, it’s better late than never.”

July 07, 2014 5:05 pm

What has Main Street done so far

HELENA — Here are some of the early accomplishments of Gov. Steve Bullock’s Main Street Montana program, the administration said:

July 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Business leaders statewide on 'Key Industry' commitees

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock, in conjunction with the co-chairs of his Main Street Montana Project, Bill Johnstone and Larry Simkins, has appointed a number of Montana business leaders to be co-chairs of Key Industry Networks to implement the business plan.

July 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Background on Main Street Montana Project

HELENA — So what is the Main Street Montana Project?

July 07, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Governor’s Main Street Montana Project proceeding

Governor’s Main Street Montana Project proceeding

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock’s Main Street Montana project, a public-private partnership to develop and implement a state business plan, is moving ahead, with his appointment of some top business leaders to serve as co-chairs of a dozen industry sectors.

July 07, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Union leaders: Court ruling won’t affect Montana now

HELENA — Montana union leaders said Tuesday they foresee no immediate impact in Montana from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that concluded certain government employees don’t have to pay fees to the unions representing them.

July 01, 2014 6:40 pmLoading…

Disclosure of utility executive salaries back before PSC, as part of Missoula water battle

HELENA — In its fight to take over the private water utility serving Missoula, the city is pushing for public disclosure of what the utility pays some of its top executives, saying it’s an excessive cost Missoula water users shouldn’t have to pay.

June 29, 2014 12:15 amLoading…

Committee moves ahead on bills to revise, possibly limit Parole Board powers

HELENA — A legislative panel studying the state parole board voted Friday to draft at least two bills revising or limiting the board’s powers — and some members want to look at even further restrictions and changes.

June 27, 2014 9:27 pmLoading…

Legislative panel backs off plan for FBI investigation, seeks in-depth study of Shelby prison

HELENA — A legislative panel Friday undid its earlier decision to ask the FBI to investigate the privately operated prison at Shelby, but still voted to support a study and full-scale audit of the prison that holds 550 state inmates.

June 27, 2014 6:24 pmLoading…

Pro-choice, pro-life leaders disagree on how court decision will affect Montana law

HELENA — Leaders of an abortion rights group here said they don’t believe a Montana law will be affected by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a Massachusetts law banning protests within a 35-foot buffer zone outside abortion clinics.

June 27, 2014 6:17 pmLoading…

State tops in fiscal prudence, study shows

HELENA — Montana ranks as the most fiscally prudent state in the country, a study in Governing magazine shows.

June 26, 2014 6:33 pmLoading…
Lindeen exploring run for secretary of state in 2016

Lindeen exploring run for secretary of state in 2016

HELENA — State Auditor Monica Lindeen confirmed Wednesday that’s she exploring whether to run for Montana secretary of state in 2016 — but said she’s a long way from deciding.

June 26, 2014 5:47 pmLoading…
Attorney wants GOP to sue to close primaries

Attorney wants GOP to sue to close primaries

HELENA — A Bozeman attorney is urging the state Republican Party to proceed with a federal lawsuit to close GOP primary elections to nonparty members, but the party’s state chairman said no decision has been made yet.

June 26, 2014 2:18 pmLoading…

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